Monday, April 02, 2007

Matt McDowell reported killed in Iraq

In a picture taken just weeks ago, Army Sergeant Matt McDowell is seen beaming with joy as he holds his newborn son, Nathan. Sadly, the 31-year-old soldier will never get to see his son grow up.

The Military Police Officer was one of 6 soldiers killed over this past weekend in a roadside bombing south of Baghdad. Matt's father, Mobile resident Kim McDowell, says his son died so that Americans could be free. "Matt's been added to a long list of people that have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we share," says the grieving father.

The elder McDowell tells NBC 15's Nikole Patrick his son, who originally worked as a helicopter mechanic, re-enlisted in the army and became a machine gunner a few years ago. After a brief stint at home in New York, he reportedly left his wife and newborn son to protect other men, women and children living in Iraq. "Matt truly believed that the innocent children, men and women of Iraq, that are caught in between those warring factions over there, don't have anybody," says his Father.

McDowell says his son died doing what he truly felt needed to be done. It is a liberating and painful thought for the Mobile father, however, the man, who has worked for the Archdiocese in Mobile since 1997, is relying on his faith to help him deal with the tragedy.

He tells NBC 15 News he will keep the memories of the brave soldier close to his heart to share with his grandson one day. "I'd tell him he was a knuckle head," he tearfully laughs. "No. I mean, yes and no. There's a time and place. I would tell him he had a very loving father," says McDowell.

The grieving father, who currently works at the University of South Alabama's Student Catholic Center, has used work and other community projects to keep his mind off of the tragedy, but it only serves as a temporary fix. The beautiful memories of his son and the good times they enjoyed are very fresh in his mind.

From NBC 15